Saturday, April 25, 2009

Auto critique?

"Saudi Arabia, for example, has already secured 1.6 million hectares of agricultural land in Indonesia. As it is phasing out its own wheat production to conserve finite water resources, it is planning to invest heavily in agricultural projects abroad. A state-owned organization – the Saudi Company for Agricultural Investment and Animal Production, with an initial capital of $800m – is trying to interest private Saudi investors in foreign farm projects by providing credit and by negotiating deals with Australia and Argentina, as well as with countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
One of the problems of these new semi-colonial plantations is that much of the food produced there will naturally be exported to the countries that put up the money – to China, South Korea and the Arab world – rather than consumed where the food is produced. This might actually lead to increased food scarcity in the host countries where the projects are located. Large-scale foreign-owned farms could also threaten the lives of native farmers, now working the land. Often without title to ownership, they face the threat of expulsion by the newcomers.Feeding the rich might end up starving the poor. "

Patrick Seale in the Saudi Gazette

1 comment:

Jad Aoun said...

It's a catch-22 situation. They need the money as much as they need the food.

It will all depend on how the 'countries being farmed' use the money. If the funds are used to push for better agricultural techniques, it could be useful.